Beginning an online e-commerce store can be an exciting and prosperous adventure, it can also be a bit of a minefield as far as pulling all the right components together to succeed. It’s certainly worth the time researching what’s involved in setting up an online store, so I’ll be showing you “how to set up an eCommerce website” and where to get the best education should you go down that track.
There’s a lot of competition among eCommerce stores, so providing yourself with the correct knowledge can offer an advantage over your competitors.
Assuming you’ve chosen a niche topic, there’s varying ways to setup an online store. Although it’s possible to purchase a domain name, hosting and install a WordPress or Wix website, the best option is to use Shopify or BigCommerce. These hosting services will provide you with a built in store.
The benefits to this, is that you’ll easily be able to setup your shipping, taxes, invoices etc. These companies make setting up an eCommerce store very easy, but there’s still a lot to learn.
Go It Alone, Or Get The Education
Of course, trying to find all the relevant information to run a successful online eCommerce store is the cheapest way to go, but is it necessarily the smartest? Whilst you may find videos and articles on YouTube that claim they know everything, you’ll really only find snippets of information that will get you to where you’d like to be.
The majority of information you find on YouTube, is promoting a particular product, so they are more biased. I’m biased also, but in favor of affiliate marketing. I’ve tried the online eCommerce drop shipping method, and while it’s a perfectly honest and legitimate way to make good profits online, it just wasn’t for me.
It may be for you though, and I want to offer you the best advice. And my advice would be, to take a course to learn all there is to know about online drop shipping. Knowledge is power, as they say, so get that education.
In my opinion, this course called “eCom Success Academy” is the best out there. It’s run by a guy named Adrian Morrison, and is a complete package full of easily explained videos. I’ve done the course, it’s brilliant in its expansiveness and support.
What Is eCom Success Academy?
The eCom Success Academy course is designed for any level of online store owner, that uses drop shipping as their preferred method of selling. I’m going to run you the the key points that the course is made up of, but in essence, this course is No.1.
To be honest, I was skeptical because I didn’t want to pay the amount asked. So I looked further into it, and it so happens, that Shopify endorses the course Adrian runs. I even sent Shopify an email, asking if this was legitimate, they replied with confirmation that it is.
So, if you’re searching for how to set up an eCommerce website course, with all the bells and whistles, that is supported by Shopify, then this is your go-to training course.
eCom Success Academy On The Inside
Let’s go through what the inside of eCom Success Academy looks like in terms of training. There’s various modules to get a grip of, so let’s run through them.
All About Shopify
The first section of training runs through how to get started with Shopify and the various plans included. You’ll learn how to add a theme to your store, and setup any payment options. This is because Shopify payments are an ongoing subscription, either paid monthly or annually.
You’ll also watch training on the best way to set up shipping for your store, and learn a trick when advertising ‘free + shipping’ offers. Along with this, your checkout also needs to be configured for when visitors make payments.
Although your store can be worked on whilst in this setup phase, nobody can view it ‘live’. You’ll learn how to unlock your store and get a handle on the full Shopify dashboard.
Lastly, a brief rundown on the Shopify App Store will be explained with how apps will be integrated should you use them.
You will then learn what drop shipping is, how it works and different methods of bulk ordering. Part of this includes using CSV files to upload your product orders to manufacturers. This will make bulk orders that much easier and quicker.
Obviously, many orders will be single items, so you will learn how to place individual orders for any product. This involves using special techniques, so that your customer will think the product is coming direct from your store.
Adding Products to Your Store & Promotion
As part of the Shopify store training, adding products to your store will be of utmost importance. Get a handle on adding drop shipping products to your store and the techniques behind adding free products. This is used when offering products that are “free, just pay shipping”.
Trying to figure this out alone is difficult, it’s not something you’d just stumble across. This is a promotional strategy which will also be learned here. Whether it be “store wide free shipping” or “spend X get free shipping”, you’ll be taught how to set these up.
There’s explainer videos showing how exactly a product is added to a storefront, including variations, and shipping methods. One of the most crucial parts to adding products to your online store, is adding variations of products. This includes such options as size, color or brand. This is all taught in depth.
Now as drop shipping can take longer to be shipped, you’ll learn how to keep your customers content. Otherwise, they get disgruntled with the waiting time.
As far as product descriptions go, you’ll learn the benefits of short or long form content, and what makes customers trigger an action from either.
There’s also a plugin that will allow you to see how your visitors react on your site. It shows heat-maps, recordings, funnels and much more. This can help with errors on your site, or optimization, via showing what your visitors look at and click on the most.
Building a Brand
You also have branding to think about, this is also covered along with a customer service platform, contact forms and what Adrian calls, a social media branding kit. It’s basically setting up social channels to match your store brand.
There’s still more to cover in the Shopify section. As I said, this course is full of informative videos.
Now you’ll get the hang of how to get social proof, images of your customers using products you’ve sold them from your store. This is a neat little trick.
Another thing that customers like when they purchase a product, is searching up their order. Shopify comes with many apps from their App Store, Adrian will show you the most important apps that will pay for themselves when you start making sales. This starts with an app for searching up orders, along with another 8 essential apps.
This Shopify section is extremely broad, which is why so much is covered. The course covers so much more, let’s get stuck in further.
What is Ali Express
Many people know of Ali Express, and that they offer cheap products from China. However, many don’t know this, and they certainly don’t know that this is the largest supplier of drop shipped products universally.
You’ll get a rundown of what Ali Express is, how it works and how it will benefit your online store business.
When drop shipping with Ali Express, you’ll be working with multiple vendors. Adrian will explain how to find the best vendors to use, and how to communicate with them to get what you need.
There’s particular criteria that you can search for to make sure a vendor is legitimate, recommended or popular. This is only going to help when it comes to returned items or customer complaints.
Top Selling Products
Understanding what to look for in a great product can be a minefield. You’ll find a great video that explains the correct types of products you should be searching for. Are all products going to sell? Probably not. You need to watch this video to find the criteria to look out for.
Bulk Drop Shipping Template
Adrian believes strongly in bulk drop shipping, so he’s compiled a bulk drop shipping template that you can send to vendors. It’s a written form asking a vendor to work with you, in terms of multiple sales.
You won’t require this to begin with, but it will come in handy down the track when lots of sales are coming in.
As an online store owner, it’s going to benefit you, if you can source your products at a cheaper price. You’ll learn all about the correct way of asking vendors for a discount, and when to do so. You can’t just ask for a cheaper price out of the gate, you need some proof of sales first.
Once of the biggest online sales opportunities, is the T-shirt phenomenon. There are many online stores dedicated to selling T-shirts, because it gives you the opportunity to build a brand.
Here, you’ll learn the best apps to use for T-shirt creation and shipment. Not only does this app print your favorite designs on shirts, but also mugs, phone cases and other products. They can also ship out directly to your customer.
Scaling & Beyond
Now that you’ve been taught about Shopify, drop shipping and sourcing products, it’s time to see the bigger picture. A video explaining how you will scale your business is next on the menu, followed by a couple of other useful videos that can help with maximizing your sales.
There’s so much to learn when it comes to Facebook advertising, hence the amount of tutorials covered in this section of the course. Beginning with Marketing, you’ll run through the FB manager with an overview of the dashboard and features.
You’ll also get an idea of the difference between setting up a niche or general Fanpage.
Speaking of Fan Pages, here you’ll go through creating your first fan page. You’ll go through the setting that will give you the greatest exposure and how to manage comments. You’ll see the moderation tools, learn how to add a ‘Call to Action’ button and get a handle on comment engagement tips.
There’s also great tips on content, such as using GIF images or engagement and learning how often, and when to post. There’s a balance to getting this right, it’ll all be explained in this module.
Wow, how much can you learn about FB advertising. There’s so many objectives that you can optimize for, with Page Post ads being the most preferred option in this course. You’ll not only learn about these, but also Link ads, Right Column ads and Carousel ads.
Being taught how to write each of these, and what settings are correct for optimization, are critical elements to get the most out of your ad spend. These are the exact methods you’ll be taught in this module.
FB Targeting & Advanced
Targeting your audience is the most critical part of paid advertising. There’s no point advertising golf balls to a netballer is there? You’ll go through the 3 phases of targeting and learn when to use each.
These are Precise, Broad and Behaviour targeting. Each have their place, and are used for different times in a campaign.Then comes other types of targeting, such as Lookalike targeting & Custom Audience’s. You will also learn about intersected keywords and the Audience Overlap tool, how these are used and how to get the most out of them.
Have you ever heard of a Facebook Pixel? If you’ve never done this kind of thing before, then probably not, but you will learn that they are crucial to your campaigns. You’re going to understand what the pixel is, how it works and where to find this Facebook Pixel.
It needs to be placed in the correct location on your website, and be optimized for best purchasing performance. There’s a number events that your FB Pixel can be optimized for, you won’t want to get this wrong.
FB Ad Writing & Strategy
You’ve learned how to write content for ‘Free + shipping’ products on your website, but this will be different on your Facebook adverts. You’ll not only learn how this is achieved, but also general retail products best practices.
Another critical element to your Facebook adverts, is your budget. Here, you will learn what budgets to set, and when to scale up from your set minimum. There’s also a bidding strategy that you can get involved in, should this be your preferred method.
Scaling & Split Testing
How do you know when it’s the right time to kill a campaign, or scale it? You’re going to learn all about judgement frames in the next module, and even be shown a case study to compare to.
When it is time to scale, there’s another video about thrust scaling to boost your sales.
Setting Up Your AutoResponder
There are loads of email autoresponders that you can use to help with your email campaigns. The preferred program that Adrian Morrison uses, is MailChimp. If you’re running an online store, MailChimp is fine, but I’d advise against MailChimp if you’re an affiliate marketer. The reason for this, is that Mailchimp frown upon affiliate marketing campaigns. I don’t know why this is, but the best autoresponder and most widely used, Aweber, don’t have a problem with affiliate marketing at all.
Anyway, you’ll get a handle on how the Mailchimp dashboard and campaigns are put together.
Here, you’ll begin a template of your own that can be replicated on your future email campaigns. This is a great idea, and will save you time by just changing a few things in your next emails.
Adrian will run through a case study of his own that allowed him to make an insane amount of money. Using email campaigns like this are so beneficial as you don’t have to pay for them. There’s a small trick that you’ll be shown in your Shopify store, that will allow you to capture your customers email addresses.
Once you’ve added these email addresses to your autoresponder list, you can promote future offers to them, which won’t cost you a cent. That’s why they say “the money’s in the list”!
The next two training videos are about ‘Free offer’ email promotions, and ‘Retail offer’ email promotions. Both have their place and require special attention to detail. Adrian’s brother Anthony is an expert in the field of email marketing, so Anthony records some of these videos.
You’re going to also learn about the art of scarcity. This is to get your potential customers to emotionally make a decision, because they think an offer will be coming to an end, or there’s a limited number of items available.
Openers & Non Openers
An opener is someone that opens your email, obviously a non opener is somebody that doesn’t. These videos are going to show you how you can find, and send, a second email promotion to ‘only’ the non openers.
This can help with your sales because some people were too busy to see the original email, or they maybe accidentally deleted it. Sending an email a second time can scoop up another 5-10% of sales.
Learning how to send the correct amount of email to customers, and knowing when the best days to send, is an art in itself. You’ll be taught which type of email promotions should be sent on which days, leaving breathing room in between.
Nobody wants to be bombarded with emails, buy some are necessary for your online store to thrive.
Building a Team
When comes to building a team, we’re talking about getting a group of people together that can help you with everyday tasks associated with your online business. This can be emails, social media, customer service, orders etc.
You’re going to learn the best places that can offer these services, at the cheapest cost to you. There’s loads of outsourcing websites but only a few will allow you to get the correct people at the right charge out rate.
Your Project Manager
Your main help is going to come from a project manager. Someone to organise all the others in your team, and keep on top of your main tasks. Learning what to look for takes time and experience, this will all be taught here. You’ll be basically searching for a clone of yourself, that can do all that you’ve been taught in this course.
You’ll learn all the activities that this project manager should be able to manage, and what you can trust them to do.
If you don’t have good customer service at your online store, you lose credibility, trust and brand exposure. You’ll be trained on what to look out for in a great customer service representative, and what they need to understand in the role you’ll be giving them.
As an online store owner, you’ll have a refund policy. As an example, your customer service team member will need to know what included in this policy. What about disgruntled customers etc. Get to know the type of person is best suited to this position.
Social Media Managers
To have active social channels, your brand will create more trust. Hiring someone to your team to take over all the social media management is going to allow you to free up more time for yourself to do other tasks.
Your social media manager will learn what social channels are best, when and what to post, and how to deal with comments.
There’s programs out there dedicated to helping small businesses keep organised. They can even sync multiple team members so you can contact and leave messages for them.
You’re going to learn the 2 best programs that will help with your project management, and how to use these programs effectively. Adrian even runs through how you can setup your Facebook advertising campaign scheduling in these programs.
Exit Plan for The Long term
Although this is essentially a business that you’ll want for the long term, Adrian will explain all you need to know about selling your business should you want to. Once your business has been scaled, built trust and has a high turnover, the online business will be worth a lot of money.
There’s various aspects that you’ll need to consider before moving on your asset.
Bonus’s & Extra’s
Finally, the course wraps up with a few added bonuses to offer you extra help. You’ll get a 3-part series of videos created by Anthony Morrison about email marketing. The first set of videos is titled ‘Build, Send Profit’, and focuses on which email autoresponder platforms to use and why, setting up lists, why sending emails is important and various strategies used. This is followed up with videos on Solo Ads and then Product launches.
Outsource Mastery is the next bonus, which shows a series of videos on learning how to hire team members and have your work outsourced. This includes strategies on how to keep your team members happy so they perform their tasks well for you. This all helps towards growing and scaling your online store business.
Adrian has also created a small piece of software that he provides, that will help you find trending products to sell. It’s called Sizzle Sniper Software and uses Ali Express and Facebook ads to snipe out viral type products.
The fourth bonus consists of a video showing Adrian creating a Facebook advert from scratch, so you can copy his exact method of creating great Facebook adverts.
Lastly, you’ll have loads of hour long coaching webinars to watch that Adrian has created as part of his ‘Profit Power Hour’ program. These include Shopify tips, email marketing tips, Facebook advertising tips, outsourcing and more.
A Cheaper Alternative
In my opinion, eCom Success Academy is the best course on the internet to get a handle on the whole dropshipping experience. This includes setting up Shopify, sourcing products, team management, outsourcing, Facebook ads, customer service etc
However, I’ve also found another course that is available at a fraction of the cost. It’s called eCom Lifestyle University and is run by a guy named Ricky Hayes. This course covers much of what Adrian Morrison’s course does, so may be a better alternative to begin. It’s not quite as streamlined, but is not far off.
Ricky Hayes eCom Lifestyle University course is also beneficial if your setting up an online store from outside of the United States. Because Ricky is Australian, he mentions various payment gateways, shipping and currency converters to help with the default US systems. That’s not to say US residents shouldn’t watch eCom Lifestyle University, as the course is targeted to a global audience.
You can read my review of eCom Lifestyle University here.
Tired of seeing Scams or endless fraud sites?
If you’re after confirmation of whether this is a good program to learn how to set up an eCommerce website store, I give it the tick of approval. Remember, it’s a certified course through Shopify itself.
Before finalizing his article, I’d like to give you an idea of the road ahead.
An online store owner will make more profits than say, an affiliate marketer like me, who generally makes commissions based on a percentage of a sale. That’s if the online store owner is capable of generating lots of sales.
In my experience, I found it a lot more difficult than first thought. Facebook targeting is great, but it doesn’t always work as effectively as you think. You could end up spending lots of dollars and only make a handful of sales.
Also, there is a lot more responsibility with an online store. You’ll need to be on your toes the whole time, organizing drop shipping orders as soon as they come in. Otherwise the waiting time will get your customers disgruntled.
Then there’s returns, customer service, shipping, taxes invoices etc. There’s a lot more to it than just setting up an online drop shipping store.
Affiliate marketing on the other hand moves the responsibility back to the merchant. If I make a sale, I’m directing a potential customer back to the merchants store to buy. If the customer makes a purchase, the merchant pays me a commission.
Although I don’t make as much money per product sold, I can still sell lots of various items and make loads of commissions. And I don’t deal with the other issues discussed with an online store.
Both these methods are legitimate online money making options. Read on below if you’d prefer to learn affiliate marketing.
If you have any questions or thoughts on “how to set up an eCommerce website”, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment below. I will reply as soon as I can.
Like many people, I struggled in my early attempts to make money online. It's really frustrating when you try product after product, searching for that elusive opportunity that is really genuine.
Eventually though, I learned how to achieve success in the online world with my own website. This website was created to show others how to do it. I direct people away from the poor opportunities and advise the good ones.
But the simplest and least complicated is [Learn more...]
Disclosure: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links will not cost you any more. More info at my disclaimer page
The opinions in this article are solely mine, are are not intended to offend or discriminate. All information in this review has been researched on the public domain of the internet.